CNS Radio report, photo and story by Sabrina Barekzai
RICHMOND — Ali Velshi has a love-hate relationship with Twitter. Though CNN’s chief business correspondent believes he does a good job on his show, he says you wouldn’t know that from the way people talking about him on Twitter.
“People call me everything — fat, ugly, stupid, liberal, conservative, everything. You name it, and I’m fascinated by it,” he said.
“I love social media, but there’s an anonymity to the Internet that I don’t like.”
Velshi discussed everything from journalism to the weather Wednesday at the University of Richmond. He also signed copies of his 2009 book, “Gimme My Money Back: Your Guide to Beating the Financial Crisis.”
Velshi began his journalism career as a general assignment reporter in his native Canada. He later found his footing as a business reporter in Toronto, where he hosted Canada’s first prime-time business news hour.
He then moved to the U.S., joining CNN in 2005 as a business reporter on the morning show “Daybreak.” He became a CNN staple in 2008 after providing comprehensive coverage of the assassination of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto in Islamabad.,
During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Velshi reported live from an oil rig evacuation in the Gulf of Mexico.
At his Richmond appearance, Velshi poked fun at CNN’s extensive coverage of hurricanes, which often consists of dramatic footage of gale-force winds and reporters in weather-proof coats appearing to brave the elements. He told the audience that such live reports usually take place outside a safe hotel room.
“You can actually cover a hurricane under shelter — though you wouldn’t know that from watching CNN,” Velshi said.
He also discussed his signature issue: finance and business reporting.
After the global financial collapse and the ensuing economic crises, Velshi’s reporting gained more of a following — among those who agreed with him and those who didn’t.
“I explain concepts to people who do not have the time to understand them themselves, but need to. That’s my main gig. I don’t assume people are dumb; I don’t assume people wouldn’t understand it without my help,” he said.
Besides reporting for CNN, anchoring the show “CNN Newsroom” and hosting the program “Your Money,” Velshi has a radio show, podcast and blog. In his reports and his book, he aims to clarify the complexities of the ongoing financial crisis by offering advice to homeowners, the unemployed and other everyday people.
Velshi expressed his enthusiasm for speaking at universities across the country. He said he appreciates the culture of higher education and the bold ideas and thinking that occur within a school’s walls.
Getting a college education is one way to prosper in today’s economy, Velshi told the audience at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts. He also stressed the importance of owning property.
“The value of your money, your assets, increases at a rate greater than inflation. That is the No. 1 way to prosper,” Velshi said.
He also joked about other ways to get rich.
“The first one is marry rich; the second one is win the lottery. I’m not going to mention robbing a bank because our standard-of-practice people would not approve of that,” Velshi said.
On the Web
For more about Ali Velshi, visit his website:
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